June 18, 2009

WESTFEST in Ottawa, June 13

Last Saturday I participated in Ottawa's WESTFEST, a free arts festival in Westboro. It went pretty well! I think I'm getting a little better at these things.

It was a beautiful day, sunny but not too hot -- very key since the festival took place outdoors. I was happy the weather cooperated with my plan to wear a new sundress. And I was excited to be on the lineup with the other excellent writers (Priscilla Uppal, Nichole McGill, who also curates WESTFEST Lit, Mark Frutkin, and Mike Blouin, who was shortlisted just this week for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award), and I really enjoyed all of the readings. The never-ending stack of books I want to read is always getting longer!

WESTFEST itself was a really fun weekend event. Since everything is free, it makes for a really great atmosphere and a really diverse mix of people. We caught part of the Spoken Word sets, and saw Prairie Oyster later that night. Also, I pretty much just love a street festival. Any street festival. If there is a street blocked off for pedestrians and food vendors, I'm there.

One thing: it was a family-friendly event, and I'd chosen my selection accordingly, but I did have one line with the word "crotch." I saw it coming on the page, but I couldn't think of a way around it on the fly. In context, I think it was more or less innocuous, but maybe my own self-consciousness came through and made the word feel more loaded. Two women with a few small children between them got up from the front row and left shortly thereafter. But maybe it was a coincidence, yes? There were other supportive audience members smiling and making eye contact. Love supportive audience members. Maybe even more than a street festival.

Here's the whole WESTFEST literature crew, photo courtesy of Nichole McGill:

(L to R): me, Priscila Uppal, Mark Frutkin, host Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, Mike Blouin and Nichole McGill

No comments: